Tampons, pads and pantyliners can create a heck of a lot of trash quickly. On average, one woman will use up to 16,000 period products in her lifetime. Yikes. Eco-friendly gals want to make changes to our lives to be more green — like swapping out our beauty products for natural alternatives or bringing a reusable coffee cup to our favorite caffeinated hot spot. But since we can’t exactly tell Aunt Flo to slow her roll, earth-friendly reusable products are a great start to greening your period. If you’ve been curious how to use a menstrual cup or cotton pads or even what they are, here’s a basic primer to get started.


1. MaiaHipster Lunapanties ($35): Made with organic and cotton materials, these panties are specially lined with extra absorbent material to handle your light flow days or as backup for a menstrual cup. Lunapanties come in various styles and colors, even a thong version, so we don’t have to don dreaded granny panties during that time of the month. The Mai or Alexandria styles feature a cotton insert that you can swap out throughout the day.

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2. GladRags Cloth Pad Sampler Kit Plus ($101): While the sticker shock of spending $100 on cotton pads might make your eyes bulge out like a cartoon rabbit, just think about how each box of pads you buy monthly is about $5 a pop. Multiply that five bucks by 12 months and how many years you have your period and suddenly 100 smackers isn’t looking so bad. This beginner’s kit includes three day pads, three pantyliners, one night pad, one carry bag (for discreetly carrying used cloths) and one mesh laundry bag. If you’re wondering how exactly you’re supposed to keep these guys clean, the lovely ladies at the women-owned GladRags company have plenty of simple video tutorials to get you started.


3. The Moon Cup ($35): You might have heard your friends whispering about the wonders of the Moon Cup and thought it was some trophy for a women’s hockey league, but the reusable silicone menstrual cup is way better than a trophy. You can wear the cup for up to 12 hours. Inserting the cup takes practice, but once you get the hang of it, you don’t feel a thing. The Moon Cup comes in two sizes, based on your age and whether or not you’ve given birth. With proper care, the cup can last up to 10 years. Wowzer. You can use the money you’d normally spend on tampons and treat yourself to a fancy dinner at a nice restaurant.


4. Jade and Pearl Sea Sponge 2-Pack ($21): These naturally occurring organisms are biodegradable and sustainably harvested. Since these sponges are au natural, they come in three different shapes and sizes (small, medium and large). A simple wash, rinse and air dry is all you need to do to keep these sea pearls clean. Fans of the sea sponge rave about being able to wear it during sex and report no leaks.


5. Softcup (14-pack, $10): Found at your local pharmacy, this cross between a tampon and a menstrual cup can be worn for up to 12 hours. Geared toward athletic women, there’s no discomfort during activity. And you can even have mess-free sex during your crimson wave like a champ. Softcup comes in a 14-pack or a reusable version that can be worn during your entire cycle. A quick video tutorial will help get you on your way.

Would you make the switch to reusable period products, or have you already made the leap and love it? Tell us in the comments!

(Feature photo via Lunapads)